Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

Coconut chutneys

These chutneys really need to be in a page of their own since they aren’t really any particular color and don’t fit in any other categories. And they are the classic accompaniments to dosais, idlis, vadais … all those mouth-watering South Indian breakfast or tiffin items.

Coconut chutney #1

This version is best made with fresh coconut though the scarcity and labor-intensiveness of that item often leads me to make it with desiccated coconut as well. To fresh or dry scraped coconut meat, add about half the quantity of roasted split peas (called pottu kadalai in Tamil)*, 1-2 green chillies, juice of a lime or lemon and just a few coriander leaves (optional). Grind in a blender or food processor with minimal water until quite smooth. Add only as much water as needed to emulsify. Season with salt to taste and garnish with mustard seeds popped in hot oil (with curry leaves if available). If chutney is not hot enough to taste you can also add a few chopped green chillies to the tadka.

*You don’t have to use this daal, which serves as a good extender and also gives body, if you have lots of fresh coconut at hand..

There is a green version of this chutney also in which one can dispense with the daal and add much more cilantro/coriander leaves to the chutney while grinding.

Coconut chutney variation 2

For this version roast desiccated coconut and chana daal (about 1/2 as much as coconut) over a low fire adding a pinch of asafoetida. When coconut begins to turn color turn of heat add a few dried red chillies and continue to stir gently taking care not to inhale too much. You may also add about 1 tsp of coriander seeds to the roasting mixture, but his is optional. Grind this mixture in a blender using diluted tamarind water as the liquid. Season (salt) to taste and season with mustard seeds popped in hot oil.

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